Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Ah, it is always humourous to me how the Christian church in the death throes of Christendom and the spinning out of the Christianities, in their last gasp of Empire fail to realize that in the story of Holy Week, they have become the Roman Empire and the Religious Oppressors that Brother Jesus lived his life of Hope and Love out against. Just looking to the neighbours to the South and the screams of “religious oppression” and the lie of “We can gather, God will heal and protect us” (and yes, I have heard on a remotely minor scale some of this echoed in Canada just not covered–though Calgary’s Street Church—ARGH!!!!–but that is a rant, not the point of this message). The control, and herd mentality that can lead to the end is sad. See being asked to distance, and do things differently is not oppression, it is saying still connect, still worship, still be community, but do it safely and differently.

I mean, read the story of Paul in the Christian Testament pre-conversation for oppression, read the histories of the early church in the Didache…then reflect, and turn back to what is actually being asked not twitter sound bites.

But I digress with my opening, for we are in hope. I have been tracking moments of hope in the world currently, of world’s collaborating, of those times idiocy is overcome, of the calling out of that which many would’ve remained silent on within their own movements. Seeing the affirmation of the person at this time as we discuss how best to move forward as a society, seeing what is wrong with some aide plans rolled out, and providing constructive feedback to leaders to improve. For those that would like to continue to reach out to government officials in Canada I guide you to the Reboot Alberta community, and their short teaching around written engagement (and yes Alberta, with our doctors walking out due to our Government’s continued and sustained attack against the medical profession at this time, this is pertinent, for their continued and sustained attack against our exceptional children in education, and for their dehumanizing attack against our most vulnerable in shelters, it is necessary), please read Ken Chapman’s post in Reboot Alberta here. As in ancient times, the personal connection to the issues raise the words importance, and hopefully during this time of isolating where contemplation can open up a heart and mind, we will see even the most ideologically entrenched break and realizing people are not numbers on  balance sheet.

But again, do I digress, or is this real world application for the time of Palm Sunday. A time of celebration in my own family, as both our children chose to engage in God’s love on this day many years ago- a year a part. In our own family tradition, it was not specific denominations that stepped up to offer God Parents, but rather across the Christianities and without label, just a focus on the “love as I have loved you” command Jesus gave in the Gospel of John. The Johannine community as I have written of earlier, was a community of collaboration, interdependence, and focus of service to affirm, lift up and create belonging for all the blessedly diverse Imageo Dei’s of their world.

This is a resounding message within Palm Sunday. Calling for change, living counter to the authoritarian regimes’, helping one another, holding them to account. And then on the day we lift up today, Empire flexed its muscles and held a military parade on one end of the city, while Jesus, humbly entered (John 12:12-19):

12The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” 14Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15″Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. 17Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

The gathering of the cast outside of society, those that the actions of government said did not matter. The ultimate demonstration of love, belonging and hope to move forward with. Yes, the powers to be continued to conspire, as we see with some mega churches refusing distancing orders, and some governments Canada thought were friends, banning exports of desperately needed supplies so they can appear in control and in power, but the light is shinning through the shadow cracks, revealing their true character and what truly matters to them—it may look like an S, but it’s not for hope from Krypton it is $$$$$.

Yet the world as a whole pushes back and our story continues.

Will this parade of new way of being together continue?

Will we continue to crack the oppressive darkness and anger that has regressed our change?

We as a world, are at our collective Palm Sunday and ready for what emerges as new birth, when our physical distancing ends and our world has an opportunity to enjoy our Rebirth…

Like a DC Comics hero, what is our core story and values that will be on the table for us to move forward together with?

Some thoughts

Posted: March 22, 2020 by Ty in Current Events, Spirituality
Tags: , ,

This was originally going to be a Facebook live, but that is not a kind feature to those of us that do not have the smart phone. I contemplated YouTube, but after dealing with trying to get FB to function–yeah, thought it was simply easier to spend some time writing out what I was going to share.

It is intriguing times in our new temporary normal, distancing, and still trying to provide support. Figuring out tools that we can use to stay connected and supportive, while at the same time being able to take a strong lens to those that should no longer have purview or input into our lives. Far too much false information being shared and as such I continue to encourage you dear reader, to listen to the Prime Minister, and your local Chief Medical Officer and their team in the province. For those that are wondering why the Emergencies Act federally has not been enacted, it is simple, that is the Act that centralizes when provinces/territories are unable or unwilling to respond in time of national crisis. They are responding. Collaboration is happening. Which means full funding is going where it needs to go. Hallejuah!

But as I wrote in my previous post around a scheduled day. At this time I want to share some ways to shift our thinking out of the shadows, ramped up anxiety or negativity. It is through 4 distinct things we can do, 3 cerebral and one physical:

  1. Pause and write out 3 things you are grateful for in the moment. Keep a running list visible or in an easily accessed notebook so you can look back on the abundance in your life.
  2. Write down one goal of learning for the week, plan a phone call follow up with a friend to talk about accomplishing it.
  3. What is one thing today? This week? You are going to do to recharge yourself? Schedule it, do it, celebrate it online so others can see the fun and health.
  4. Finally, move your body, move your mind. Get up, respect social distancing, listen to the Chief Medical Officer for the healing in fresh air and sunlight, and go for a 5-20 minute walk to let your body heal and renew.

Also, a special bonus, plan a screen/social media sabbath daily and weekly so you can be unplugged and enjoying other hobbies. This helps to renew the spirt more than you may think, as it allows your system time to process everything that has been taken in either actively or passively.

Stay safe, stay healthy, know wherever you are and whoever you are– you are blessed for simply being you.

Keep being you.

FIt is the ending of week one here in Alberta, for where I teach it was pause week as we prepare to take courses online for the last 4 weeks of the semester. Remember students who do not traditionally learn by online pedagogy this week as they are moving on, and instructors who do not normally teach online as they take the plunge. Everything is a temporary new reality, and as such we need to invert how our world has been functioning with populism, and truly lead with compassion and kindness.

I have been using Facebook to share some thoughts, and I will share them here, before moving into some self-care to maintain better mental health in this time. From Facebook:

No photo description available.From March 21: Anecdotally hearing of earth healing from highly polluted areas, and animal returns in this time of humanity’s isolation. This is good, we too can take time to heal, spend time in contemplation, journaling-its not just writing, but poetry, singing, painting, doodling, drawing, scribbling–get the pain out, and let the hope in anew. Let’s make this season truly one for new life here on Planet Earth for all.

Continue to figure out ways to connect, especially with those who live alone, in long term care and our elders. Use phone calls, see if face time, skype, zoom or MS Teams for video conversations, follow rules if you are the one on the list in Alberta and ensure you are there and present. The increasing anxiety and depression can do just as much harm as what we are social distancing to stop.


Or on going, as the Chief Medical Officer of Alberta has said sunlight and fresh air is healing, and this is social distancing but encouraging.

Please be kind, do not social media shame businesses of any stripe open that are following AHS rules. They know that we are blessed with a good safety net in Canada, but EI does not replace a full salary–55% so these owners and employees know that it then becomes a survival issue and are trying to lessen the blow. For our community that rents, Landlords, be kind, and Premier–be as the rest of Canada’s provinces and bring forward aid. When out shopping, also do not hoard, buy what you need for 2 weeks as you normally would.

Hmmm…folks used to be able to live permanently in hotels-motels, historically even one of our PM’s did. Calgary when this is over, let’s keep this housing option on the table for people who want to grow a home there.

No photo description available.March 20:For 31 years we kept saying we would end child poverty–with public schools closed the hidden shame is how many kids only got their food at schools for breakfast/lunch and the weekend food hamper. Please be kind, and let’s be neigbourly, don’t hoard, there is enough for all, can we figure out how to ensure all are fed?

As the province braces for an increase in domestic violence, please to the abused don’t stay…to their family and friends even in social distancing have the safe sanctuary ready.

And yes, now we move onto the self-care portion. Why? Simple, as a monastic, alone time and silence was our stock and trade. Years ago I taught classes, and wrote a book called Pilgrimage to the Heart of the Sacred which opened with a list of Monk’s Bag of Tricks…this is a continuation during this time.

It is okay to treat the first week or two as one would a vacation, to aid in the decompression from the rising rampant stress and anxiety. As we moved forward however, here are some times from your friendly Monastic Doctor of Psychology in keeping up your mental and emotional health.

  1. You will be bombarded with a lot of information, not all of it useful. When it comes to the Covid-19 in your area, politicians it they work to keep calm may be useful, BUT only take the lead from your Chief Medical Officer as they share relevant information and details moving forward for the community’s safety.
  2. In regards to the day, create a daily schedule just like you would have not working from home, or in a lay off. Set a wake up time, a time to get dressed, a rhythm for coffee breaks, lunch and dinner. Set up blocks of time for doing certain things. Currently I am working on rationing my book reading with out public library closed. What does your day look like? Post the schedule? Time for outside time? It does help.
  3. This is also a time to catch up on at home clean up projects that have been put off, even with thrift shops closed many are still receiving donations. Finish up the fix ups if you can, as hey…it keeps creativity flowing, and sharing the outcomes online create healthy conversations as to how time is being used.
  4. Take time for reflection whether it is journaling, art, crafts, a way to shift into the creative you can aid in shifting your conscious, but also helping out.
  5. If you are in recovery of any stripe, there is online 12 step meetings in your area, seek them out as this is a social outreach.
  6. Use video conference platforms if you can–family, usual social gatherings, the virtual is better than nothing, and can create a connection. Same as using phone calls.
  7. Practice healthy social boundaries on social media. I have written about this before, but this is a time to bring a close to unhealthy relationships or those that just have continued beyond their best before date because of social media. Create the online community you need, and that like your face to face one is healthy for you.

These are the beginning, be kind to one another, do not hoard, only purchase what you would for a usual 2 weeks as we need to move through this together. This is a temporary new normal, and as we move throughout discover the world of compassion, kindness and interdependence that is needed for our world to renew and move forward together as a healthy society that places people first. For we are all neighbours, and it is through love, kindness, compassion and empathy that not only our neighbourhoods heal, creation begins to heal as we set different priorities, but also we heal. True reconciliation is letting our story be held sacred, and then together moving forward to the new.

This is a time for release, healing, renewal and reconnection…let us be.


Hugh Segal has had a long career in public service, both at the Federal Political level, Provincially, and in our Senate Chamber. He was called to the Senate much to his shock, by Prime Minister Paul Martin, a Liberal, and offered the ability in 2004 to sit as either a Progressive Conservative, Conservative, Liberal or Independent, much to his surprise, because usually up to that point vacancies in the appointed chamber were filled through partisan politics. Segal decided to adopt the new brand of the recently merged right at the time and sat as a Conservative, though in 2014 when he left, he was seeing it was not the Tory ship he remembered.

The Wynne government was not perfect nor Tory. Few governments in Canada are “Tory” anymore. Today when I use the word, I refer to Disraeli-like belief in “one nation” politics–a politics that sees as unacceptable the vast difference between those living happy, well-funded lives of travel and luxury and a sub-culture in which people are denied enough to eat, indoor plumbing, time for family, or any enjoyment at all. A Tory respects tradition and the rule of law but sees the reduction of the gap between rich and poor as essential to his or her mission. The Disraeli administration made progress around child labour laws, breaks during the working day, a full weekend off, and other amenities for workers that reduced the pain and hopelessness of poverty. This is what I refer to when I use the word “Tory”. (Segal, 2019, p. 159)

Segal’s (2019) Boot Straps Need Boots: One Tory’s Lonely Fight to End Poverty in Canada opens during his childhood in Quebec, where his toy box has gone missing and it is revealed that his father had given it to a neighbour for fire wood, and the long life journey of unpacking the idea of poverty. Of the work of community to support one another to carry one through, and the role of government. His family’s elder generation was CCF/NDP, his parents was Liberal, and through the whistle stop of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (A Tory), a young Hugh Segal at 12 years old was converted. Why?

Image result for boot straps need bootsDiefenbaker spoke to his family’s circumstance. Even though everyone in his family supported the “natural governing order” or the incumbents in the safe seats, what is Canada’s equivalent to a British rotten burrough is a good reminder to always question the incumbents, the party, and that there is no natural governing body, but rather a coalition of citizens that need to show they are working for Peace, Order and Good Governance for all Canadians, and what that looks like at the core should be able to cast a vision, have a plan, implement and get support across parties–for opposition sometimes is about right out opposing when it is bad legislation, but on the whole, opposition should be about making governance better, more accountable and transparent.

The need to what the quote of Segal’s from the book at the time the Liberal provincial government of Kathleen Wynne had him come to pilot the Guaranteed Income project (a pilot project scraped by the incoming Doug Ford populist, in PC brand only, governance). It was one of the two interests that drove Segal’s public life. Under the PC Leader Stanfield there was a drive for using solid research and application in public policy. Segal’s writing affixes him as a true Red Tory, he stayed true to his party, in 1998 would run for leader with the party now reduced to 5th place due to the fracture of the coalition and rise of the Bloc Quebecois and Reform Party. Yet a platform to espouse the drive for the Guaranteed Basic Income Model.

A Model that lays out a pathway to prosperity for all citizens in an economic efficiency instead of the layers of government entitlements (four for seniors in Alberta, disability payments, and different income supports at a provincial level). It gears to a tax base allows for a universality of a program to ensure livability. It creates a system of hope, and replaces a system based on paranoia, and exclusion to one of inclusion, and opening up new avenues for citizens to fully participate in economic prosperity.

Aside from the memoir journey that shows his path from childhood, where at 12 years old he was encouraged to contact the leader of each party before making a decision, and sharing how it was Diefenbaker’s office that responded not with a form letter, but a letter, and speeches that centered on the questions he asked. Engagement of the youth, asking questions, seeking out the best evidenced based solutions, understanding the need for collaboration across party lines to effectively make change and positive impacts. This was seen at different points when he wrote of work in minority governments, and the shift in majority (as he was a part of Mulroney’s government)…to a return in the Senate, then stepping back and becoming principal of a college, to his work with Wynne’s government.

The echo is also seeing the unfortunate change, as collaboration dies, the ability to question one’s own movement as well as others in the discourse of ideas (the altruistic evil writers like Jonathan Sacks discourse on) to what it actually means to be a public servant. The memoir unpacks the story of a life work yet to be accomplished, and the question to the reader is, should it be? And yes it should for Canadians as a whole.

Segal, using Ontario as a case in point writes of where we are at in decision making:

Cabinet solidarity after reaching a decision is one thing; having no chance to influence the decision before it is reached is another. This goes beyond right, left or centre. This goes directly to process, inclusion,and the right of ministers to have their say. After all, their oath of allegiance is to the Crown, not the premier or his staff. (p.179).

The closing shows how one over a lifetime can have a moment that inspires to change, even in the moment it is frought with a spectrum of emotions of anger, sadness and confusion. Segal’s toy box moment was this. Anger needs to be released, or it will consume and not allow you to see beyond your own anger, for what is actually the true healthy interdependence of our communities:

I am no longer angry at my Dad. The toy box was all that he had to help a neighbour whose economic straits were even more dire than ours.  I have forgiven you, Dad. In your place at the great cab stand in heaven, I hope you will chuckle at how long it took me to admit it. My father did the right thing. We all need to do the right thing now. (Segal, p.173).

What is the right thing you need to do?

Right now…

What a mess the income support sector is within Alberta. It shows how all Alberta governments have missed the point on what is the purpose of these entitlements. The most recent infliction of kicking someone when they need help has happened under the socially conservative, draped in a faux cross governance of the United Conservative Party that decided to move the payment date from 3 working days before months end (where everyone had a 12 month calendar to know when this happens) to the 1st of the month. Obviously a decision made in an ideological echo chamber of folks that have never had to access things like AB Works or AISH.

See, everything when you’re low income involves lining up, you need to line up for the cost adjusted transit passes, when the monies given do not adjust for inflation for food you need to line up for food banks. You need to line up affordable housing, yes these can be paid sometimes directly from the government, but still landlords and bills expect prompt payments or fines are induced. To believe there will be understanding and late fees will not be levied is showing that government bureaucrats and MLA’s do not have to worry if they incur a late fee, constantly. As for landlords, with the RTA late fees can be variable, and an astute landlord is within their rights to issue an eviction notice (14 days, with fees accruing, plus NSF charges) when rent is missed. This is not being vindictive, this is a landlord ensuring that a late payment does not become a missed payment and not tracked properly. Late fees per day I have heard have been anywhere’s from $5 to $100…so yeah, government you are failing to provide care for citizens.

And in my journey over the last few years, those who will have read my post on EI, know that we were in a bind.  So what does this mean? A trip to the AB Works office. Same day I was declined and the staff at the Service Canada office stated that they were only there to keep the computers open for applicants. So I popped in around noon, I knew from my decades of aiding folks in getting this entitlement secured that this was not a time to join the cue. I spoke with the staff member, and asked for a simple checklist of that which I needed to bring in for application. The AB Works staff instructed first step was to come in for intake, where there is no appointments you —wait for it—line up and your name is called like waiting for a table at a restaurant, and all you need is your government issued ID, there is no checklist, there is no efficiency in the system.

Came back the next day, had the intake, was informed my partner needed to be there. But its intake so it was okay, oh and it wasn’t just ID you needed your SIN card too for each adult, and now here’s the checklist, oh you’re looking for work–let’s insult the trades and give you a list of temp agencies because anyone can swing a hammer (have you deep dove into infrastructure structural issues because we do not honour skill sets of people)…also as an intake worker they did not listen to the person in front of them, for I had pointed out my story, my resume redo, and interview skills training and that I was getting job interviews…what they did was hand me a pamphlet for a job seeking skills group… sigh… why is this attitude prevelant? Because it is allowed to be, the first order in the intake, like with Service Canada, is not the person in front of you, rather it is the ideological process, and in Alberta that process has been directive that all applicants are scammers. Considering AB Works only covers housing, utilities and food at what the government assumes it is (and for a single adult housing allowance is $323/month)…and that if you have any retirement savings all that has to be cashed out and used before you can apply (so essentially you are beyond broke when you apply)…well it is definately a scam artists dream I tell you…

And the application appointment from Feb. 13? February 28…and guess what else I was handed– a checklist…oh and did you know the direct deposit forms the banks provide are not “secure” enough for AB Works (though they are for the Canada Revenue Agency) they give you another form the bank needs to fill out and sign. The checklist also includes things like 2 months of bank statements, I get that in our world to verify costs…but what if? Oh, and if you have the family or individual medical supports, they take that card off you at application, and move you to a mail out stubb to use for medications instead while you are on the income portion, when you come off the income portion then they reinstate the card, because all of that makes sense???

Now look at the process, flip it on its ear…if we assume we are here to aid one in need a simple process that they are not scammers, as such we are not trying to waste the person’s time in need who is already doing what they can to survive, and job hunting…what about a simple process of showing up, being handed a form with a simple application where you fill in your name, ab id number, SIN, and Alberta health card, as well as all those of your dependents. Set the amount at survivable so $3,000/month for a family, and return with the direct deposit form.

Better yet, if our provincial government was serious about reducing red tape, they would work with the federal government and other provinces to create a guaranteed basic income administered through the CRA and Service Canada, so that when you’re employed it reduces if you make above a certain amount, and when laid off it kicks back up to the full amount (so for the wealthiest in our nation they would always get $25/month)

Yes, it is thinking outside the box, but it also provides the simplest, best care for citizens, reduces red tape, and maximizes investment, it is like universal health care that includes pharmacare, dental and optical.

But it takes actual leaders that see people, and not micro managers that see balance sheets, decimal points, and deficits without understanding the complexity of living, breathing communities.

We can debate the technicality of calling Canada a confederation or federation. Yet what is true is that we are a collection of cultures, religions, regions, and nations…some at times have wanted to be declared a distinct society, when the truth is Canada as a whole is a beautiful and distinct mosaic. Currently we are in the midst of what is being hash tagged as shut Canada down. It is beginning and centered in protests in Wet’suwet’en and the “lightning rod” media issue around pipe lines.

Is it truly about pipe lines? Or is it another instance of colonialism dictating what happens and Indigenous voices shut out? Yes and no. Not an answer any one wants to hear. In Canada, as Truth and Reconciliation was not fully actualized (we went through the motions, but didn’t do the work) we are living in dualism. It is the type of dualism, Rabbi Sacks brought out in regards to historic and emergent anti-Semitism. He pointed to the fact of creating the Us-Them dichotomy where one side has to be right and the other has to be wrong. He also pointed out this dualism historically grew anti-semitism in the Christianities for it pointed to the Hebrew Bible God as a lesser being, with the Christian Testament God being superior. Even pointing out the terms Old & New Testaments continue to perpetuate this dualism, and the ability as the Christianities became Christendom under Constantine that Christianity and Rome became all Good (US) and Judaism and the Sanhedrin became Christ Killers–all Bad (Them). He goes on then to unpack that this is being brought into the Middle Eastern political landscape through bad religion and interpretation so Anti-Semitism is taking root in Islam.

Why this matters? Are you able to see the parallels with Colonialism? Settler and First Nation? Civil and savage? The outgrowth in our own politics of the same dualism where one side has to be sacred and the other profane, one holy the other sinner. The last Federal and provincial election cycles were nothing more than mud fists with the race to the lowest common denominator…no vision casting, no dreaming, no talking of foreign and domestic policies to build healthy relations nationally and globally.

Then we wonder why we have blockades? It’s a boiling point of frustration. Sure, some of the protesters may be paid, some may not know why they are their because like sports teams, political and populist movements, there is bandwagoners that join up to be a part of something. In an increasingly isolated world, any glimmer of belonging is what one latches on too.

It is rooted in the story of Canada, passive genocide both cultural and spiritual, inter-generational trauma, reserves, lack of education, soaring suicide rates, boil water advisories, Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (rampant serial killers targeting our vulnerable and the RCMP not acting), it is `60’s scoops of children to civilize them, residential schools, it is dehumanizing them, using them to fight our wars and when they returned home not allowing them back on reserves and with their families until they were found dead on our streets, shattered languages, over seizure by child welfare, over representation in prisons, high rates of addiction…

It is a government response that was almost, but not even. Talk of repealing the Indian Act since the Trudeau Sr. era. Being able to speak into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the 1982 Constitution Act (which started way back when with Louis Riel and the Red River Resistance); The failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords that may or may not have changed things for the better but became too highly politicized behind personalities for a true reading, stable governance, and a passionate Prime Minister on relationship building, Paul Martin, who worked with First Nations to craft the Kelowna Accord that would have radically changed the way our mosaic functions…then 10 years of a rise of old stock Christendom Dominionism that put relations back, if not in law, rather relationship, to when there was still debates if our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters are wards or humans. This was seen through the overturned by the Supreme Court of governmental re-write of environmental laws to push through oil and gas projects, and sell off Crown Land. To the end of the throwback to something new, but stumbling to find its rudder. An inquiry into MMIWG, Inquiry that came so close, but not far enough with no apologies for the flub. A Truth and Reconciliation process concluding with nothing changed or how to get the recommendations implemented. Both the “settler” and the “Indigenous” governmental bodies being discussed inside and outside for corruptions, misuse of funds and powers.

Then the pipeline through B.C.. The lightning rod. The final straw, and the protests began. Some poured over into blockades for transport routes (much like the Yellow Vest movement had done to support Oil & Gas). The forcing of the oil industry on another’s land, unseded. In another time, it could’ve created conversation and exploration as rural farmers are being left to foot the bill of abandoned wells on their land as the Alberta Government feels pity for the great corporations…but in the dualistic Canada it has created disparity, anger, and fuelled hatred. As well, as the challenge of balancing independence, interdependence, and need for economic capital within communities which is why, as in all pieces of our mosaic you cannot paint an act of some as it representing all.

If you want to state civil disobedience is wrong…then if your a woman stop voting, if your a veteran return your benefits, if your a worker give up your benefits and living wages and send your children to work–those are just a few changes for the better that came from Canadians with civil disobedience. The rule of law is thrown around, peaceful protest and gatherings are permitted under our constitution, the blockades are another matter. Yet the answer from the other side is the hammer of force via military (yes the RCMP is a military wing of our armed forces, they are infantry)…and so we see the peaceful protesters arrested and caged which does not help open up collaborative discourse for a peaceful ending, resolution, and healing.

Some have their hate released because of CN Rail saying it is going to lead to lay offs, and their stopping shipping. Yet, it has created a good smoke screen for the corporation that was coming under fire and tighter scrutiny by the Federal Government in their infrastructure up keep to stop the series of fatal derailments that have been plaguing the rails in Canada. They had been speaking of layoffs, and workers talking of strikes before this happened…so did the protests cause? Or are merely a way to build support for the poor corporation? Think, explore, listen and look.

See each other, as person not as Them to your Us.

Finally, we have all sides screaming for political change in Canada, reform of how government operates. I am not going into Prime Minister Trudeau’s seeking of the UN Security Council Seat or his International work during what is happening here. First, the misogynistic attempts by opponents and bully language makes one tune you out. He is doing what needs to happen internationally, let’s look what is happening nationally. The deputy Prime Minister (a woman), and the Premiers are being left to show what leadership looks like in our Constitution. Constitutionally the Prime Minister is within his rights to enact the War Measures Act…and the blood will run. So why not? There is legal and illegal, the War Measures Act is a sledge hammer, and a black and white tool in what is a grey area that requires a surgeon as we traverse the more ethical, what is right and wrong? Why this approach and why are we not able to see why this approach matters? Is it misogyny that does not allow one to see that this is a team/community approach? A rather decolonized approach to reconciliation? That we all need to work together to make our nation healthy and better.

For that is the challenge, when we speak of decolonizing I’m reminded of an interview question I had been asked in regards to it with an institution. I pointed out it is accessing wisdom of elders to compliment teaching and mentorship, but it is also taking the sacred teachings and medicine wheel as the lens (paradigm) we teach through. The response was well we have a class specifically on the Medicine Wheel. Ok, but to break the cycle it is doing things differently, it is not teaching one thing in isolation but showing how you take a value system and use that to craft your practice and your life. If we can apply in our learning and teachings a holistic system that honours creation including the person then we can grow a stronger, healthier nation and communities. It is an ongoing daily examin, adjusting, living and loving.

It can be done with any healthy and positive belief system that allows for healthy community. If done properly it will transform politics, governments and laws.  It is reconciliation after our truth…the way forward together. It is collectively opening up our constitution and saying, what does Canada need to look like for the next 150 years to continue to be a world leader?

There is no easy answers to where we are at now. We are living the grieving process of change. A nation–any community, is a living breathing organism, what we are seeing played out is what happens in our own body’s when change and grief happen. It is what happens when we keep repressing, ignoring warning signs and pushing forward eventually it crashes.

Are we willing to step up and look to the healthy solutions? Are we willing to silence the extremists on both sides in the healing and let the communal good move forward. Let the heart call out the b.s. (belief systems–or fertilizer, it is both). That is the crux of the matter. Will we give in to dualism, and the eventuality of altruistic evil


Are we strong enough as a nation, to live what we profess to believe?



I wasn’t that old, it was at a family dinner at my Nan and Granddad’s I remember. The image on the screen, the man in blue and red catching the helicopter…and yes I believed what I had seen on the spinner rack at the Mac’s stores— a man could fly. Christopher Reeve was the embodiment of hope. Superman and Clark Kent. There was a time with this meta-myth I would easily say one was born knowing who Superman was, with the advent of social media and algorithms, and those that only chase “gloomy realness” I am not so sure anymore. There has been many movies (I discount Man of Steel and Batman versus Superman), t.v. shows, cartoons, radio shows, novels, comics (monthly, weekly, comic strips, graphic novels, and collections out there)–and a host of family-Supergirl, Superboy, Bippo the Super-monkey if you will.

Yet at the core, is a hero designed by two Jewish boys. The original iteration was a villain, but by the time Action Comics #1 (1928) hit the newsstands, it was the familiar hero we know today. Superman started out fighting corporate corruption, as a voice and hero for the disenfranchised, the other. He was in PSA’s against racism, and fought the KKK. He would save the multi-verse, and fight to sexual trafficking as well in his career. My most familiar version was the post-crisis one crafted by Calgarian, John Byrne.

But I digress (can you see the fan boy coming through). What is the origin of the Man of Steel? The Man of Tomorrow? And how does it tie into the ancient wisdom stories of the Hebrew Bible and our modern world discourse around climate change today?

The Moses story was the meta-narrative used to craft the origin. Moses as the Hebrew Bible’s book of Exodus, tells us there came a crisis for the Hebrew people in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh did not know the patriarch that had settled them, and he became fearful of the nation within his walls (hearing anything about our current political climate in those words? Fear generation?). As such, Pharaoh set out on an program of genocide by eliminating all male babies of a certain age to ensure a culling. Moses’ family set Moses out in a basket on the river for a safer life, a new life, they did not know if it would work, but they hoped.

Moses was raised as an Egyptian, and upon discovering his roots, became a voice and actor of hope and emancipation for his people.

Jor-El, saw a world ending crisis coming to Krypton. He took his scientific data to the governing council that did not want to act. Did not want to create a panic in the populace. Did not want to believe that nature would conspire to rebel against their unethical dominionist ways. They laughed, they mocked, they used media to discredit him as hokey, call it a farce, fake news, fake facts, that this is all about the normal rhythms of space and their world.

Jor-el and his wife built a rocket to save their son from this self-inflicted genocide of the planet Krypton driven by ignorance. For what would have been the cost to listen? What would have been the cost to make their world and their people healthier by transitioning industries? Supporting one another? Why they would have to change the great Kryptonian ethos of “we’ve always done it this way.”

Kal-el was rocketed to earth. As he grew through puberty and his powers emerged, technology allowed for him to connect with his heritage. He grew, with the support of the core values he was raised with as Clark Kent, into a symbol of hope, and an emancipator for Earth from fear and corruption though the battle was a bit more cyclical than what the Hebrews had–wait—having read the Hebrew Bible, nope it was just as cyclical as that ancient wisdom works share with us.

Both Moses and Superman became hope. Jor-el is a symbol of what happens when we ignore science and truth because it is inconvenient, or disruptive to an echo chamber narrative we want to craft. I may not think climate change will be as catastrophic as the young are predicting, but I am no scientist. Though I have to ask, if we shift gears to a healthier relationship with creation, more of a caretaker than the strip mine dominion approach, back to the actual relationship and entrustment God gave us in Genesis 3 what is the worst that can happen? Cleaner air? Cleaner water? More equitable relationships between nations? Healthier holistic life? Being able to see and be with one another as neighbour?

If it is true and we ignore the end game is Krypton’s. Though there is another end game in the journey no one is addressing, by the voracious and bully focus of climate denial, we are doing something else. We are telling a generation of youth, our leaders now and in the future, that we did not equip them, we do not trust them, they are not valid or valued as members of society. Let that sink in. Aside from austerity measures that are harming the most vulnerable:

we through our lack of ability to discourse and change, are telling our young that they do not matter and then became outraged when their response to Gen X to the Baby Boom is the middle finger.

The question before us on planet earth is simple, who in the origin story of hope do we want to be:

The Kryptonian High Council or Jor-el?

What’s a fin you ask? Old slang for a fiver. That’s right the Bank of Canada is seeking input on whom should replace our first Francophone Prime Minister Laurier (also the one that gets Spocked) on our five dollar bill. I have heard thoughts for Celine Dion, Louis Riel, Tommy Douglas, Ryan Reynolds, Don Cherry, Terry Fox and Agnes MacPhail. But I think there is someone that would speak to our history and current state, and become a symbol for moving forward as one nation from a mosaic of many. In one of my callings as a children and youth pastor I did a discipleship devotional series on historic Canadians, regardless of religious affiliation, that showed a Jesus character. it was a means to show the kids, youth and volunteers that character matters more than vocal protestations.

Image result for chief crowfoot

Would this not be a powerful image on our 5 dollar bill?

Within the series, I shared on one of the First Nations historic leaders in Alberta, Chief Crowfoot. His character was instrumental in the writing of Treaty 7, a treaty that was approached a bit more collaboratively historically than the other treaties, as the Canadian Government was not entering into it as a conquering nation.

Crowfoot understood the ebbs and flows of change that things like the railroad brought, the request for the North-West Mounted Police to deal with the Whiskey Traders whose trade was rapidly destroying his people. He understood the ask when Riel and Dumont wanted him to join the Batoche Rebellion, where the world was, what had changed since the Red River Resistance, and the wisdom needed to say no t the ask– to stand outside– even though his heart probably supported the cause. Such a wise and powerful leader, that he was known by Queen Victoria, and had Royal attendance at his funeral.

In our era of Truth & Reconciliation, where the truth has been told, and now as a nation of nations we need to move forward together in a common good…Crowfoot’s wisdom still is in need today. A nation that has divides based on those that do not want to see change has and is happening, a new path of being and diplomacy, not the same old story, a care for creation, an understanding that decisions made are not always about the here and now, but stretching out 7 generations for the world, and confederation we want.

It is a rallying call to unity. It is a rallying call to working together. It is showing that we are honouring all who are apart of the mosaic of Canada. The choice shows the “disaffected” west, that they are honoured, while at the same time showing that it is not just a “settler” nation.

Some may say this choice on my part is political. They may be partly right, but then, is it not time we create symbols whether financial or communal that show the best of our nation? That show that reconciliation is not only possible, but where we are at our best? In an era of ongoing ideological entrenchment, it is time to shatter the walls, flood the trenches, and tell the robust story of all within this beautiful mosaic.

Chief Crowfoot’s life and legacy is what Canada’s meta-narrative has always been about…let’s make that narrative reality. One simple change at a time.

Books Between Friends

Posted: December 10, 2019 by Ty in Current Events
Tags: , , ,

Many in Calgary may already know, but we had a hidden gem that aids many charities and non-profits through ongoing fundraising. How?


You can donate books, and then shop to buy new to you books, and all monies raised go to make a positive impact! Here is their latest e-mail I thought I would share, and maybe aid some in their Christmas shopping for the book worm on your list:

Our Christmas book table is loaded with
great seletions. Come in and brows.
Christmas Specials
(Until December 24, 2019)
All Christmas themed books – 10 for $5.
All Hard cover and Large Size Soft cover books – 12 for $15
Gift Cards for stocking stuffers:
    Special Christmas Gift Cards
    Buy a $25.00 gift card for only $20.00
    Buy a $50.00 gift card for only $40.00
    No expiry date
Store location:  #14, 3434 – 34 Avenue NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 6X3

As the journey unfolds it comes time to seek a new path. Wow, that sounded uber eloquent, and it causes me to reflect on the writings of Henri Nouwen I have dove back into during this time of transition. Nouwen was an acclaimed priest, and Harvard academic when he shares the story of a man showing up at his office and sharing that Jean Vanier sent his greetings. Nouwen assumed that was all, no, Vanier was there to meet with Nouwen. It was a meeting that would lead Nouwen to serve in the L’arche community of Daybreak in Toronto. L’arche is a community, a home, for persons with disabilities (core members) and their staff (assistants). Nouwen faced backlash and an inquisition about stepping out of the high life of acclaim and academic celebrity to join L’arche. To choose passion and home, over ego.

Why does this resonate? I reflect on this as I seek out my new vocation. See, I tend to apply for front line roles. Yes, I hold many degrees, have been everything from a director to a manager to front line staff to an author to a speaker to an international teacher… yet there is something about the one to one work that always appeals to me.  The human resources lens resumes are put through (if they make it through the computer algorithm) looks at a resume of mine, and says:

  1. Overqualified.
  2. We cannot afford him.
  3. He will become bored and leave.

What is missed though is some simplicity.

  1. I am qualified. I have a passionate drive to make my own little world of the corner better, to create a good quality of life for my family and for those I serve. My degrees and experiences have grown out of opportunities to learn and grow to better SERVE the person before me. To journey with them to learn and discover alongside them becoming who we are both meant to be.
  2. You can afford me. It is quite simple, if I am applying or discussing joining your organization, I have done the household budget number crunch for what you are offering to pay.
  3. Retention is about the health of the organization. Each role is a piece of the journey. When I was hiring for teams I looked for diversity, and qualifications, I celebrated when someone with quite a bit of experience and education applied regardless of the role because that wisdom then became part of the team pool. Staying within an organization is about the organization being a place where team members and what they bring to the table is honoured, where there is an understanding that having a diverse team of experiences and educations is a firm foundation to build the now on, but also to build forward and create a strong pool for earned leadership within the organization regardless of title.

It is not about passion over money, both can come and go. It is about where one places the emphasis for their vocation (career) trajectory. What is the core value pushing it forward? Is it climbing a ladder and claiming titles? Or is it simply creating ripples that make a world better? Both-and are possible, and sometimes it is either or, but like Nouwen deciding it was time to shift gears to Daybreak, sometimes that resume that appears to good to be true in the incoming applicants is entirely, and simply, an application for the role.

My wife says, it is an inherent trait of mine to live what I believe and it can be counter-cultural. I wonder how better our world would be if it was simply cultural?

Yes, my family is now on a new trajectory. I send out feelers and resumes, and ponder if an organization will risk to call and a new journey will begin. . .